Rated Reads

How NOT to Be Popular

by Jennifer Ziegler

Rated: Mild

Sugar Magnolia Dempsey — Maggie to everyone but Les and Rosie, her parents — is tired of moving. She’s been moving all her life, mostly because Les and Rosie — second-generation hippies, determined to see the country, Buddhist in philosophy, convinced that family is all they need, and hilarious as characters — can’t seem to settle down. Which is all fine and good, except Maggie had a life — good friends and even a boyfriend — in Portland, and she’s been dragged to Austin, Texas, because her mom has enrolled in a massage therapy certification program.

When her boyfriend breaks up with her, via email, three weeks after she leaves, Maggie decides that the hurt must stop. So, to soothe her wounded heart, and to protect herself from the inevitable move, she decides that what she really needs is to be the opposite of popular. Instead of ingratiating herself into the in-crowd, like she has in the past, she’s going to go the “loser” way: tacky clothes, terrible accessories, the “wrong” friends, the “wrong” crowd.

There are moments of sheer hilarity among the stereotyped high school characters. The popular kids, the Bippys, are mean snobs. The losers, of course, are real and nice and fun to be with. Maggie’s perceptions and observations of high school life are spot-on, even if she’s a bit backward in her thinking. Which is why it all (of course) backfires on her. And she’s left to figure her way out of the mess the best she can. Which is nothing but delightful for the reader.

Rated: Mild — some references to sex (but no actual sex) and a bit of mild language.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • How NOT to Be Popular
  • by Jennifer Ziegler
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: